It has become very important for me to spend some time of this issue of failed leadership and to dwell on it from the angle where those of us being led saw it coming but didn’t know or just chose to ignore it, and consequently, contributing to the failed leadership. Again I am confident about the fact that it was not only the elected leaders that failed. If we did not give them a smooth ride to get there, they would not have gotten the chance to fail. Do you remember all the rhetorics of most of politicians during their campaigns?
Let’s take it from there. A lot of these politicians only have some scribbled notes when they are campaigning and they use that as manifestos. While recognizing the fact that new ideas may strike you and you are permitted to note such thoughts, it is so clear that many of these aspiring leaders during campaigns had no clear thoughts as to what they would offer the people and we let it slip just like that.
A few of them would come and tell us they will give us road, water, build hospitals, build new schools and create jobs. That is what most politicians have said since 1998 when serious campaigns returned to Nigeria as we prepared for the then new democracy. Those that managed to build the hospitals built hospitals that they cannot visit if they are sick. The few that think about education build schools that they cannot send their children to yet they will gather the entire community together to celebrate the opening of the mushroom school.
The worst of all the gimmicks of rhetorics that they engage is when they present themselves as a strong opposition to the incumbent government. They shout and shout about what the government is not doing right. They tell us all the mistakes that the present leaders are making and that dominates their own campaign. At the end of the day when you think about what they have offered you, there is actually nothing! They have only told you what the other party is not doing right but not what they have to offer.
While I understand that politicians all over the world want to tackle what their oponents are doing, they don’t dwell solely on talking about the inadequacies of their opposition. They offer a plan and then compare their plan to what the other party is offering. They show the people that they are a viable or better alternative.
We the followers need to have a rethink because we are the ones who have allowed these shallow minded fellows scale through easily into the corridors of power! Their shallow minds were revealed to us and it was not a concern to us until they got into power and began to wonder what happened to us or how some of them became leaders. We ourselves have not been as involved as we should be and then we claim that it is politics of godfatherism.
These few people who are holding the nation to ransom are not more than the followers. We can hold them back and make sure we reduce the quantity of mediocres that are able to make it into the mainstream politics. Just a few years ago there was an illiterate in Ibadan who dictated the pace of politics in the entire state and some people jokingly called it ‘amala politics.’ Amala is a type of Nigerian food popular in Oyo state. He would feed a lot of people and the people ended up becoming very loyal to him and getting things done for him and his favourites.
Let’s not pretend we do not know these things or that it suddenly happened and we didn’t see it coming. So many even know more than I do since you are close to a lot of politicians and they share secrets with you. All I am calling you to do is to refuse to allow the rhetorics they call manifestos to continue to pass without being drilled and thrashed if found too shallow.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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